Day 9: the energy flow of yesterday has turned to ebb; but a reflection, an echo still lingers. I want to cherish those insights, suggestions, the good will… carefully beginning to handle the material once more – but it takes another direction with this new day’s visitors; generating thoughts on yardsticks and astral travels; Bysans and (lacking) the illusion of depth in images; religious hatred, norm shifts and the beginning of life. No Ariadne’s thread to follow, perhaps, but still ‘to be continued’…
A day with no major changes; unknown visitors offering personal comments; a quiet, candid day. And then, an evening when everything is turned around – a new space, suddenly. Followed by a peer-to-peer feedback session; a wealth of experience and perspectives. Thank you, Agnieszka and Auli, Esmé and Andrea – from the core of my heart, thank you! I’m at a loss for words.
Day 7: Reset, start anew… I cannot move the large canvases on my own, so they’ll have to stay set for the time being. Everything else goes back into the storage space – only the armchair and the folding chairs remain. They aren’t my artworks; they are my coworkers. The pea-green chairs are a low-budget remake of “the Situation” – a project highlighting loneliness, by Karin Lindström Kolterud. Karin herself shows up, and gives some valuable suggestions on how to choreograph the bulk of chairs in relation to the paintings.
At 3pm, a visitor arrives from Cambridge – via zoom – and takes a tour through the whole set-up in my cellphone.
From yesterday’s elderly artlovers – partly somewhat blasé – a sudden turn to younger minds. Distance yields for active involvement; action alternates with reflection. Ebb, and flow… Today, the process seems to have reached a node – not coming to a close, but to a resting point. Tomorrow, the beginning of another week.
Saturday is opening day at the other artspaces in the block… and for the first time, there’s the occasional visitor who shows no sign of interest; just another stop on their round, a quick glance with a connoisseur’s glasses on, before heading to the next gallery… But there’s been other kinds of encounters, too – between laughter and (almost) tears. The prolonged view. Paying homage to a worn-out blanket. Aesthetics and/or sincerity? Thank you, Lena, Birgitta, and all of you whose names I don’t know!
In the morning, I had a visiting group of students from the art class that I’ve shared the last weeks with, and their teachers. As I asked them to find an inherent theme when rearranging the material, they responded with an almost wordless collaboration – and a spontaneous installation from fabrics, tape and paper cups. Over the next hours, pairs of visitors kept dropping in… exchanging thoughts about space, body matters and grandkids; about Daniel Buren and giving up control; and the pleasing state of being banal.
Day 3: soon, playful surprises in unexpected places – left from yesterday – would yield for an extreme makeover. A cohesive team worked hard for two hours, mounting large canvases and little drawings… while fruits & flowers were put on display in the storefront. Thank you Birgitta, Susanne och Christina! And thank you, Karin, for superb documentation (to be seen elsewhere)!
May 11th: a day of breathing, of extended attention. Nearness; distancing; returning… The beginning of a longer rhythm? A visitor’s intervention intuitively connecting manifestations of motherhood and childhood; frailty, and a hidden treasure. In the evening, a sharing circle opens up to playful, gentle joy. The sky is getting clearer. A rainbow.
May 10th: from white walls in an empty space… to a meandering dialogue in words and making. Thank you for the installation, Walter! Thank you for creating cosmos from chaos in darkness, Lena! Thank you for your time and courage and collaboration, Mats and Mats! Thank you for the world opening down the rabbithole, Thea! Thank you – each one not mentioned by name – for your perspectives, your interest, your warm professionality! This is what I hoped for, in more than ample measure.
To my joyful surprise, I recently got the opportunity to attend a Winter Symposium with the Nordic Summer University. It took place in Latvian countryside, close to a natural reserve (but out of reach for the internet).
The venue, of course, is an extremely powerful tool in the set-up of such a gathering; framing the whole process, contributing to how knowledge is produced, shared and interpreted.
The overall theme for the NSU Study Circle 7 is The experiential in artistic practice: methods, knowledges and reflective processes. Over three days of Easter, a lovely bunch of artistic researchers, academics and practitioners presented their research and shared practices – as well as hot sauna and icy swims.
Learning about feminist strategies by printmaking, about regenerative farming in Latvia as a base for textile art, and the importance and implications of Wanderlust… Learning from Finnish and Latvian dancers, British artists, a theatre director from Tampere and a Polish philosopher… This has been a unique and inspiring experience in so many ways – not least thanks to Ulla, our exceptional chef! I hope to meet again…
…as I hope for peace, for human awareness towards all earthly beings, and the rebirthing forces of spring.